Let’s defend Scandinavia in Wargame: AirLand Battle! Part 1: Something Rotten in Denmark

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Wargame: AirLand Batle, by Peter S
Welcome to Scandinavia, the setting of Wargame: AirLand Battle

Welcome to Scandinavia, the setting of Wargame: AirLand Battle

March 1985, Moscow. Mikhail Gorbachev loses the race to succeed Konstantin Chernenko as head of the USSR.

 

Early September, 1985. A clash between Soviet and US Navy aircraft leaves several pilots dead. The world totters on the brink of war.

 

Late September, 1985. World War III erupts. Norway and Denmark, comprising NATO’s northern flank, are on the front line. The Norwegian army manages to halt the Soviet advance – only for Soviet troops to roll into neutral Sweden, threatening Norway’s eastern flank. To the south, the Soviet advance into West Germany leaves their forces on the border with Denmark.

 

NATO’s troops are badly battered. Enemy reinforcements abound. Scandinavia hangs in the balance. Can my leadership save the day?

 

Welcome to my Let’s Play of Wargame: AirLand Battle.

 

Introduction

 

Wargame: AirLand Battle is  a newly released strategy game for PC, a blend between the real-time strategy and traditional wargame genres (for more background, check out the other posts I’ve written about the Wargame series, linked  at the top of this page). In addition to multiplayer and skirmish modes, AB offers four single-player campaigns of varying length and difficulty; I have finished the shortest and simplest campaign, which is really a tutorial in disguise. For this LP, I will be jumping all the way to the longest and most challenging, “War in the North”.

 

WAB WITN Intro Cropped

 

The game bills this campaign as “Very Hard”, but I’m confident I’ll be up to it. (And, hey, everything worked out the last time I LPed a difficult game.) I will play the campaign either until I win/lose, or until it stops being fun. Here goes!

Continue reading

Let’s defend Scandinavia in Wargame: AirLand Battle! Part 2 (FINAL): Who Dares, Wins

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Wargame: AirLand Batle, by Peter S

WAB Day 4 Pt 2 Start

 

Welcome back to my Let’s Play of Wargame: AirLand Battle!

 

In Part 1 of this LP, my effort to defend Scandinavia (playing NATO in the War in the North campaign) got off to a promising start:

 

1. The Danish army wiped out two Warsaw Pact brigades that attempted to seize Aarhus;

2. The Swedish army did the same with an amphibious landing at Malmo;

3. As at the end of the last instalment, the Swedish and Norwegian armies had recovered their fighting trim and were in position along an Oslo-Stockholm defensive line.

 

What were the key lessons learned? First – and I am indebted to this excellent guide from the official forum – that the objective in battle isn’t to kill so many of the enemy that the survivors run away, it’s to wipe them out (which will earn me the morale points I need to win the campaign). In game terms, that means (a) pinching off the enemy reinforcement sectors so they can’t retreat, and then (b) win the battle by hunting down their command vehicles. Unable to flee, the losers will surrender.

 

In practice, the campaign is designed such that it is difficult to decisively win battles unless there is a large discrepancy (due to some combination of morale, initiative, positioning, and equipment) between the combatants. Otherwise the two forces tend to get stuck in a spiral of falling initiative (reducing the forces they can deploy) and increasing morale (making it harder for them to rout the other), broken only when the arrival of a fresh brigade tips the balance. Other players have complained about this, and I can see both sides of the argument; I like what the developers were aiming for, but I do agree it could do with some reworking.

 

For present purposes, though, what the rules should be is beside the point. The key is to focus on what the rules are, and if I need to engineer massive mismatches to win, then that is what I shall do. That means (a) ensuring each sector of the line has fresh brigades in reserve, so that they can polish off a weakened enemy, and (b) conserving my strategic buffs/debuffs (e.g. air raids) until the time is right.

 

With that in mind, let’s see how the rest of my Nordic campaign plays out.

Continue reading